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Notes from Norbert C. Penner

    I was assigned to gun #21 which was just above the ammunition magazine on the starboard side.
The first mine went off and chopped about 30 feet off the stern of the ship. I leaned over the side to see what happened and that's when the other two mines went off.

    I got blown off the ship and into the Channel. Dan Westcott was in the small boat, trying to help the DD that was hit from shore batteries. That was when our ship was hit with another mine. Dan immediately started back to our ship, and that was when he picked me out of the channel. He didn't recognize me since I was covered with oil and grime.

    The pharmacist mate threw a hypo to me from aboard ship, while I was lying in the small boat. Shortly after taking the hypo I blacked out, and don't remember a thing until I got aboard the LST, and on my way to a field hospital in England. They set my leg and put it in a cast. As I recall I spent about ten days in the English hospital.

    I was then transferred to a hospital in Wales, (I think it was Milford Haven, Wales.) This is where I was presented with my Purple Heart. From there I was sent back to the USA on a hospital ship but I don't remember the name of the ship.

    I arrived in Portsmouth, Va., around the first of August and spent a couple of days there, and was transferred to the Bethesda, Maryland Hospital where I spent the next thirteen months. I had five operations on my legs, and the final one was a bone graft. They took bone from my left leg and grafted it to my right leg and put five screws in my right leg - (I've been screwed up every since!). I was discharged from the Navy on September 7, 1946, one week short of three years in the Navy.

As ever,
Norb (Joe) Penner

P.S. Aboard ship everybody called me Joe Penner after the radio comedian named Joe Penner.

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